The way it started should’ve been an indicator. Last Thursday, I think, I was backing out the front door, leaving for work. After I got everything locked up tight, I took a step backward to allow the storm door to close, and tripped over a big-ass Amazon box. It’s a wonder I didn’t go fully-inverted into the bushes. What the hell, man? Right in front of the door??
I shouted profanity, as required by international law, unlocked the door, and shoved the box inside. Then I locked it again, and was on my way.
Later, I asked Toney what in God’s name she’d ordered. It was a big box, and I couldn’t remember her mentioning anything to me. “Oh, just a new bathroom scale,” she said. “The old one is a piece of junk.” A scale in a box that huge? Hey, whatever.
The next morning I saw it in the downstairs bathroom, and it’s very fancy indeed. I think it connects to a satellite, or the international space station, or somesuch. I’m almost certain it has a hard drive. I decided to try that puppy out…
And that’s when things took a dark turn. I stepped onto the scale, and it came instantly to life. After it finished all its flashing and calculating, a number was displayed that made me gasp. No way that can be accurate, right? Something must be askew. “Toney!” I hollered. And after she assured me it didn’t need to be calibrated, or connected to a water line or anything, I was plunged into a despair that has not yet lifted.
I mean, I know I’m fat. There’s no delusion at play here. But I’d plateaued a long time ago, and never fully crossed into comic book store territory. Ya know? There’s fat, and then there’s fat. I was merely fat. But now I’ve apparently broken loose from that 10-year plateau, and am hurtling end-over-end toward a world where I’ll eventually have chest pains and will need to be transported to the hospital via fiberglass pallet hanging underneath a helicopter. I have visions of me bloated, crying, and bouncing off church steeples.
It’s very upsetting, and I haven’t really stopped talking about it. Toney has long ago given me the “Enough!” speech. “Do something about it,” she shouted. “Talking and talking and talking does nothing.” Yes, it’s important to have a strong support network. I know she’s right, of course, but can’t I be allowed the traditional two or three-week whine? Sheesh.
Then we went to Philadelphia on Saturday, completely unplanned. Both of us were off from work, and didn’t want to just hang around and wallow in the local sadness again. So, one of us suggested we drive down to Philly, have lunch, and walk around for a few hours.
We ended up at Reading Market, which is basically an extreme food court featuring local folks and no chain restaurants. It was pandemonium in that place, just packed to the rafters. We ended up eating at a joint called The Original Turkey. We both had a reasonable facsimile of Thanksgiving dinner for lunch, and it was an ENORMOUS amount of food. I mean, it was insanity. Even I had trouble making it all disappear, and that’s saying something. The price? Thirteen dollars per plate.
I announced that I’d probably not be hungry again until sometime Sunday afternoon, and within fifteen minutes… found myself buying a cannoli for Toney and a comically-oversized eclair for myself. It was so crowded, I suggested we go outside to feast on our bounty.
We crossed the street, and stood in front of a hotel. I handed Toney her dainty little package, and I ripped into my heavy-ass sack. Oh man… it was impossibly good. I think my eyes were rolling back in my head as I savored every bite of that huge thing.
Then I turned and saw my reflection in the hotel glass.
“Oh my God!” I screamed. “Look at me!! Standing on a street corner in Philadelphia, fat as hell, stuffing an eclair the size of a goddamn headrest into my face. I’ve officially hit rock bottom. I’m a freaking sow!!”
Toney made it clear she didn’t want to hear it, so I kept it all bottled up. But that vision will never leave my memory. I hope I don’t develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The thing I saw on Saturday… no human should be forced to endure.
I don’t have time to go into it right now, but the next day I went shopping for shirts and it touched off yet another emotional meltdown. Holy shit! I’ve got to do something, and quick. It feels like I’m only about two months away from developing the Walk o’ the Fatty. You know, where you have to swing your legs out and around, instead of just forward and backward?
I’m off the beer, and am planning to get back onto the daily four-mile walks. I did it for a while, had a bad experience one day, and stopped. Loser! I have one soda per day, with dinner at work, and could easily jettison that bullshit. All that’s gotta help, right? I’m not going on some stupid diet where I eat nothing but slimy lettuce.
Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. I’m freaking out, man. I can’t have this. I mean, seriously.
What’s on your mind? Unburden yourself, if you’d like. Also, have you ever dropped, say, 70 pounds or thereabouts? How’d you do it? Did you have to go full-slime with it? Help me out, won’t you?
I’m going to work now. Fuck it.
I’ll see you guys again soon.
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Lee Harvey Ramone says
The cocaine and milk diet did wonders for Bowie back in the 1970s. You need to stay on it for at least 5-8 years to before they start calling you the “Thin White Duke”, though.
I feels the pain. Every dang picture of me and I think ‘why do I look so big when everyone else looks normal?’
And then I die a little inside, because THAT IS WHAT I LOOK LIKE.
But I’m not as fat as I ever was, which is fine, and I’m a little less fat than I was a couple of weeks ago (before I quit the bourbon), and I have hopes of being even LESS fat now that systems are equilibrating and I have a LOT more energy than I did.
I’m still not stepping on a scale. Not yet.
Erica in Charlotte says
I think you are absolutely gorgeous as you are – a lovely, strong, healthy woman. I am too, but I look at myself in pictures and have the same reaction you do, because I’m not 17 anymore. We gotta move on with our bad selves!
Jeffrey Gottlieb says
Cocaine and cigarettes…and champagne if you get thirsty.
Steve in WV says
Every diet I have ever tried has just lead to more misery than when I was “over weight”. I tried the low-carb diet and somehow started getting those middle of the night thigh cramps, you know, the ones where it feels like your muscle in your thigh folded over itself. I imagined it was a pain similar to giving birth until I ended up with a kidney stone after switching to tea from soda.
Now, I am happy, healthy, drinking a 2 liter of Diet Mountain Dew ever day, and managing my 230 pounds just fine. Fuck you, diet.
Set the units on the scale to stone. I find that a meaningless number makes it easier to cope.
Try kilos. It will reduce your weight by something more than half and piss off all the Trump chumps simultaneously. They’ll think you’ve gone metric.
Almost forgot… in a similar vein, try expressing your age in hexadecimal. Much better as long as you can stay out of letter territory. In that sense I’m 39 for a few more months, Jack Benny-like.
Yeah, hexadecimally I’m 41; the Barnum people have an idea for a “the incredible dissipated 41-year-old man” exhibit right next to the tattooed lady. Bailey is lukewarm on the idea.
The MyFitnessPal app has helped me out a bunch. It will give you net calorie goals based on your current and target weights, but more importantly it taught me what exactly was making me gain weight over time. Now I can overdo it when I want to but just not all the time.
This post was fantastic. It was even better with a chocolate donut and a blueberry muffin from the bakery across the street from my office.
I think I’ll wash it down with a Coke. I know I’m fat. I know I can change that. But right now, I just don’t want to and that’s fine too. Cheers!
I recently panicked and went on Atkins out of desperation. I don’t have a gallbladder, though. With all the high fat, my shit was mainly bile and lettuce, and it got so loose I shit myself. I. Shit. My. Self.
Now I’m depressed and eating Taco Bell.
6 years ago I decided that I didn’t want to work shitty office jobs anymore and I went back to college. I graduated 2 years ago with a double BS in Engineering and Physics (with a minor in Mathematics). I then took a job as a math/statistics teacher at my school while I went for my MS in Environmental Science.
Now because I’ve been teaching for 2 years I’m unemployable as anything else… no recruiter is willing to place me.
That’s my gripe …
Fuck recruiters. They’ve been disintermediated. You have a desirable educational background, so use Linked-In and other connective paths to conduct raids on local and regional companies with environmental concerns. Low pay to start, maybe a shitty office job at first, but a shitty office job with a bright future. Go for it. Good luck.
Erica in Charlotte says
Oh, Jeff. I feel ya. I’m not FAT either, but I’m big enough.
I don’t exercise, ever. I have dogs, and I walk them each day, but I hate exercise. Period.
I got myself a Fitbit, and it makes me want to keep walking. I need every scrap of motivation I can get. (It’s too bad it’s not something like the “Quitters Inc” short story by Stephen King, with extreme negative reinforcement to quit a bad habit.)
But movement! Movement seems to be the key to every good thing – improved heart health, joints that swing freely without seizing up, breathing more easily… weight loss comes along with it, hopefully. I am focusing on Just. Moving. and I hope the weight loss will creep along with it.
Your eyes have been opened – now get moving, my friend!
Oh… I’m also in the fat zone… I have to buy pants at Casual Male… no good…
I got a fitbit a few weeks ago and am monitoring all my food and activities…. I love it because I’m a data nerd…
Burn more than you consume. Simple right? Yeah, I gotta bridge I’ll sell you.
I lost 100 lbs about 4 years ago – my insurance company at the time gave overweight people, or smokers, or anyone with some combo of high blood pressure and cholesteral, or some such, “discounted rates” for participating in some program to fix the issue. I skated for two years by wearing a pedometer and getting at least 5,000 steps a day, but then I got letter in October of 2011 that more or less said “Hey fatass, you should join this weight loss study at a local university and see if that helps.”
So I did. I figured what the hell, I’d been big all my life, might as well try this latest bit of snake oil. I consumed 800 calories per day worth of protein shakes for 3 months (towards the second half, plain veggies were allowed too), and then supplemented with small meals for another 6 months or so. They did a barrage of tests on me, most of which included timed blood draws. I lost 80 pounds, quickly.
I also started walking/running around the same time. And counting my calories. The study helped me lose the weight fast, exercise and paying attention to what I eat (mostly) keeps it off.
Being naturally husky sized is a bitch. It’s a constant battle to fit into one’s pants.
It’s a constant struggle to get into some else’s pants too!
Lucie in Tampa says
I have this set number I’ve never gone over. (weight) I check constantly. BUT even though I’ve been the same weight for years, it seems that the fat has shifted, all to my stomach. I was referred to as having “that body type” last night… I’m sad. I refuse to diet, that is just setting me up to gain back even more… I’m lazy when it comes to exercising… screw that. I’m going to have “that body type” unless something magic happens.
I lost 40 lbs. due to poverty. Does that help?
I consumed the newspaperman’s diet through much of my adulthood: black coffee, a cigarette and a newspaper. Unfortunately, during the second Clinton administration, I had to give up coffee, and during the first Obama administration I gave up newspapers. What’s left has no calories and keeps the riffraff away from my table. And my arms look pretty fucking chic without a fitbit. Pretty fucking chic.
What you need to do is chew sugar free gum.
I was in Denmark over the holidays and those fuckers eat a ton of garbage. Lots of pork with crackling, sausages oozing fat and no veggies anywhere.
However, they’re still all skinny. I credit it to all the walking and biking. They don’t sit on their asses like us and it makes a HUGE difference.
Long story short – Hit up those walks again.
what did the scale say? number?
Another vote for MyFitnessPal app and website here. As of today, 90 lbs down in a year. Well, 364 days…
It’s not a diet. It’s calories in vs. calories out. I make it a daily game to come in at or under goal. And it has worked tremendously well.
Any my ass looks so fantastic, it’s disappeared. 52 years old and that thing just walked out on me.
I lost 80 pounds 10 years ago…kept 60 off for good. The first 20 I lost from switching from regular soda to diet soda…roughly a 1000 calorie per day decrease for me. Sure the diet stuff amps up your appetite, but I had a lot of room in that 1000 calorie savings to indulge in the salty snack or Snickers bar, so I still succeeded.
The second 20 pounds I lost switching out fast food for lunch. No more burgers & fries or anything fried for that matter….sandwiches and salads and yogurt (the things I knew to be healthier, if not infinitely more bland and boring). Not all the time, mind you…just lunch. Because all the time would have made me bat-shit crazy. I’m a snacker; I accept it, I embrace it, I celebrate it. This diet had to be realistic if it was going to ever work.
The third 20 pounds I decided to cut back on the desserts. I have an insatiable sweet tooth that had to be tamed. So I’d try to cut back on chocolate snacks (from my candy dish), replace cheesecake with fruit and cream, etc., and other trades that would eliminate one or two hundred calories before bed each night. I’d still have something sweet, but not 600 calories worth of sweet…maybe only 300….but every night.
The final 20 were tough. The toughest. I had to go to the gym. Seriously. Two to three times a week for about an hour per session average. Both weight training and cardio. This was the 20 pounds that returned to me. The other tricks were easy to incorporate into my life and I didn’t seem to be missing out on too much to make those simple changes. But the gym…that was a pressing commitment that required time, effort, energy, motivation, and money. The gym went by the way side….
ah, damn 20 pounds.
At any rate, it took about a year for all the tricks to work, and it was mostly successful. I did loose the weight I needed to. I did become slightly healthier. And I certainly felt better about myself. The best part of it was that none of this was terribly drastic…just little changes that added up and made a difference over time. And I didn’t do them all at once…I eased into the new guidelines, so none of it was a shock to the system. I think that helped a lot.
Alice in WV says
I’m in the same boat. Dammit, though, your writing is spot on funny!
I started a new job Mon and they don’t have a computer for me yet. Nothing to do, so i pull out my kindle and start on your latest book of old Surf Reports. I’ve stifled my laughs and snorts all afternoon but had to put it away when I laughed out loud and i’m worried this dude thought I was laughing at him. You’re going to get me in trouble! So I check out Facebook and see a new report has been filed. This one had me guffawing, too!
New job = new id badge. My photo looks like a melon head with glasses. My reaction was very similar to yours looking at your reflection while eating the eclair the size of a headrest. Laughing through my pain.
Congrats on the new job.
Interesting interview on Science Friday last week concerning diet:
I bought the guy’s book and am going to give it a shot.
The Qweezy Mark says
All that I have to unburden myself from is having watched this this morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_swivbEsD50
It is a good thing you where not at Walmart. =-)
Oh I know how this goes. When I was 20 I wore 30×34 jeans and I had an agreement with myself that I would never exceed a nice even 34×34. I’m 43 now and wearing 38×32 jeans 🙁 Not that I’ve shrunk, just that my gut pushes my pants down all classy Dan Conner style.
In other news, I’m experimenting with my new sous vide cooking machine. I made terrific double-cut pork chops with it last week, and right now I have some 36-hour “barbecue” ribs going. And Mrs. Limey doesn’t eat ribs so I’ll have to take care of them all myself. With some onion rings and an appropriate amount of beer of course.
I haven’t seen my dick since before Jar Jar Binks ruined Starwars.
In lieu of a fitbit, I have obtained a fatbit. It did not happen overnight.
Of course, I read this while eating some roasted potatoes left over from the other night’s dinner. Damn it, I splashed butter on my shirt.
On topic, the only time I lost a significant amount of weight was in my early 20s, when I started having to pay for food. I have since recovered.
I lost 10 pounds this summer by unconsciously moving my ass. We bought a new condo that needs/needed major renovations. We would drive to Rhode Island from New York and just start painting, cleaning, ripping out cabinets etc. We would skip meals which isn’t advisable but whne you’re surrounded by 1000 pounds of dust and shit, it’s easy to lose one’s appetite. Then, it was non stop cleaning up after the slob of a contractor we had. I burnt out one vacuum and the next one is wheezing worse than Keith Richards.
I started a new job last week (FINALLY) and one of the perks is that the owners buy us lunch every day. HOLY SHIT. I’m trying to stick to a cup of soup but the temptations are there. Thank God I have a few pictures of my extra 10 pounds. It keeps me motivated.
Good luck, Jeff. Treat your body like a Ferrari and only put in the best.
I have lost 90 lbs over the last couple of years. I used my fitness pal app and counted calories. It sucked having to weigh my food before eating it but it also makes you realize why you are so freaking fat. Portions I thought were normal were actually 4 servings!
Cut back on the amount of food you eat and the weight will come off. Try eating smaller portions and healthier food like fruits and veggies you will drop those pounds faster BUT you have to be committed to doing that from now on or the weight will just return.
I also had a reflection epiphany lately. I used to end half marathons and 5ks but ate whatever I wanted and drank beer like prohibition was coming back. I had shin splints and hurt my knee 3 years ago and quit the running but never altered my diet. I gained 60 lbs on my Paul Williams like 5’6″ frame. I look terrible and had so many nagging/untreated injuries that I slept like shit and felt like Louie CK trying to put n his socks. It’s cheesy as hell, but I started doing DDP Yoga a month ago and I’ve dropped 10lbs and already sleep and move better. I still drink, generally a scotch while I cook dinner and a glass of wine with my meal, but I don’t eat fast food, eat a healthy lunch at work that I bring from home and cook a Blue Apron 3 to 4 nights a week (cooking it is how I decompress.) I also try to walk more, but this time of year sucks for that. I’ll never be Tom Cruise, but hopefully I won’t have to have my clothes made at the Fatty Arbuckle custom store.
I’ve lost 50 pounds mostly through a change of diet. I cut out pop and cut back on beer while drinking a ton more water.
One of the biggest realizations was how much mindless eating I did. Well that shit adds up. I now track every calorie I consume in the MyFitnessPal app. Takes some getting used to, but I’ve logged every day over the last 14 months. Holding myself accountable and realizing what I’m eating has made a huge difference.
Several years ago I worked for the water management district. They had a biggest loser contest, which I won.. got paid 400 dollars. Went from 290 to 235. In four weeks. I simply stopped eating drank ten gallons of water every day. Back to 280 now.
Root 66 says
Having me give anyone advice on losing weight would be like the captain of the Titanic giving advice on sailing! I’ve got nuttin’. But changing that scale to kilos would be helpful, though…
I have normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars. I’m just 90 pounds overweight. I don’t really do anything about it, and I probably should, since I’ll be 50 this year and that seems to be when the wheels come off the bus, health-wise!
I love how you were lamenting about what you saw on the scale, then promptly went to Philly and ate like you’re going to the electric chair! That’s totally me in a nutshell! Although I probably would’ve opted for an elephant ear in lieu of an eclair.
Mean Dr. Lily says
Last year I lost 50 pounds, which brought me from well into the obese range into the middle of just “overweight” on the BMI charts. That was from Jan-September of last year. I’ve kept it all off since then. Starting again here in January, I’ve gone back into weight-loss mode, with the goal of losing another 25 pounds to get myself firmly into the “healthy” range.
I’ll give three pieces of advice:
1. Focus on cutting down added sugar and refined carbs.
Not all carbs are bad, and you don’t have to cut them all out. On a nutrition facts label, under carbohydrates there will be a specific line for “Sugars”. You want that to be as close to zero as possible. Refined carbs basically means no white bread or white rice. Don’t worry about counting grams or calories or whatever, just try to limit these things as much as you can. THIS WILL SUCK for 3-5 days, then you’ll get over most of the cravings.
2. Find a few go-to meals that are healthy and easy.
The goal is to know what you’re going to eat -before- you’re hungry and craving a #1 with no pickles and coke. Slow cookers are great for this — put in a hunk of meat, a bunch of veggies and turn it on before you go to work. Tasty and healthy dinner when you get home. I like to keep bags of salad mix on hand, then add a can of tuna or lunch meat or maybe some leftover meat from the previous night’s dinner.
3. Exercise is great for overall health, but when it comes to weight loss it isn’t as effective as changing your eating habits.
Instead of walking for an hour, walk for 1/2 and hour and spend the other 1/2 cooking or shopping. Also, consider some kind of strength work, and alternate days when walking. Muscle burns more than fat, and you’re not going to gain much muscle walking.
Oh, shit — I lied. There’s 4 things, not 3:
4. Weigh yourself regularly (at least weekly) and track it in an app.
Know your progress, and make changes early if things start trending the wrong way. If you have an Android, I suggest downloading “Libra”. You don’t need to track calories, but you do need to track weight. There will be fluctuations, but keep an eye on the trend.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to adopt some of the sugar/refined carb avoidance for life, or you’ll end up as a fatass again. You’ll have to be more strict during the weight loss times, but you can dial back a bit when you get to a healthier weight. If you start gaining, just start cutting back more on the sugar again — it will be much easier because you’ll be making a smaller adjustment rather than this initial drastic change.
Good luck, Sir.
Skippy in WV says
I’m on day number 2 of not smoking after being a 1 1/2 to 2 pack a day smoker for 20+ years. Jeff, if I (of all people), can out down cigarettes the you, sir, can out down the eclaire. Good luck Jeff. We’re both gonna need it.
Good luck, Skippy!
Actually, good luck to everyone trying to put their demons to rest. It’s a tough road to go down.
Went from 225 to 140 after cutting out beer and pasta and damn near everything else after a celiac disease diagnosis. Size 22 to 12.
I was just added to the following email conversation between the senior environmental guy and chief engineer. This is the full conversation, edited only for format.
Environment: Mike, can you please review the stump.
Engineer: We saw your request come across the help desk. We are scheduled to go out to the tree stump on 12 Jan.
Env: Mike, the Director is getting impatient. Can you guys come look at the stump today.
Eng: My guys are busy today but I’ll come out myself to look at it.
Eng: I’ve been out to look at the stump.
Eng: Angelo, Can you get the morning PT plans for us? We’re going to need to look at those too.
That’s it. I was added on to the traffic on the last message four days after the Chief Engineer’s review of the stump.
Now he’s asking for PT plans as part of his tree stump review.
Am I high right now?
Did somebody at the root beer factory slip PCP into my Barq’s?
Am I actually an inmate at Arkham in the Hallway of Insanity?
I went from 6’2″ and 195 pounds to 6’2″ and 155 pounds in 2 months just from getting Type 1 Diabetes. Of course then they put my on insulin and I bounced right back to 185 after a year.
The only other times I had such big swings were a result of the aforementioned Bowie Diets that I was fond of in my youth.
Last summer I spent a month in Europe walking and hiking all over the place… even though I ate tons of food I dropped another 10 pounds before coming back to the states and returning to my normal equilibrium of sitting at a desk, eating crappy food, and watching lots of TV.
Take Shape for Life (Medifast) works great if you drink lots of water and use the ap to input food to keep accountable.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
– – – – – – – – – – – –
Reds 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Dodgers 15 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 X 19 17 1
May 21, 1952
Brooklyn makes you strong.
Jesus, they say these things happen in threes, and they always seem to.
First, Donald Trump fails by a few parliamentary votes to get banned from Great Britain, then “Iron” Mike Sharpe kicks the spit bucket, then the Seahawks lose. Hell, I like coming from behind myself, but that game gilded the lily.
When I got on the bathroom scale last night it said “Lo”. I’m not overthinking this, just being happy.
I am not a doctor or a nutritionist and this is not mean as advice merely an anecdotal story
in 1994 I lost ~60 pounds and kept at least 1/2 of it off since. I used a low fat diet that didn’t include any fake low fat items. Skim milk, fat free plain yogurt and lots of whole grains.
Breakfast would be 1/2 whole grain bagel and 1/2 cup of yogurt with some fresh fruit
Lunch would be 3 oz turkey or roast beef on whole grain bread 4 gr+ fiber with lettuce & tomato. And a can of Progresso Escarole soup (it’s been discontinued, almost fat free and 60 calories / can) or a small green salad with vinegar.
Dinner would be 3 oz of lean meat (turkey, beef, chicken, pork) broiled or baked. 1/2 cup of vegetable. 1/2 C. of brown rice, pasta or a small baked potato (smaller than a woman’s fist)
This was about 1200 calories per day which as a woman was good as a man you would want more calories.
Rule of thumb. to maintain you current weight you need to consume your weight in pounds X 10 so a 200 pound man needs to eat 2000. Each pound equals 3500 calories. So to lose 1 pound / week you need to eat 500 less calories than you need to maintain current / day. So that 200 pound man eating 1500 calories / day would lose 1 pound per week. Exercise will increase the rate of weight loss.
And I walked a challenging course 3 miles up and down hills at least 5 days per week. When I got good at it I walked with hand weights – yes I was that person.
The trick to dieting is not to diet but to change your eating habits and make them permanent. Also eat real foods everyone I know who has done one of the ‘program diets’ has gained all the weight back,The other thing is the exercise. Especially in the beginning.
I lost 75 pounds in the last year. I had a gastric sleeve. Yes, it was a drastic step, but I’m thrilled I did it.